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World Cinema Series - Gamperaliya / Changing Village

What Based on the acclaimed 1944 novel of the same name by Martin Wickremasinghe, Gamperaliya is one of the first independent films made in Sri Lanka.
When 11 May 2010 (Tuesday), 7:30 pm
Where National Museum of Singapore, Gallery Theatre
93 Stamford Road Singapore 178897
Admission

Free admission but members only -- flash your membership card to go in. You may bring up to 2 guests if you hold a SFS Reel membership card. Non-members may sign up online or at the door -- we will issue membership on the spot. No tickets will be sold. Free seating.

 

Director: Lester James Peries
1964 / Sri Lanka / 105 min / 35mm / Rating to be advised
In Sinhala with English subtitles

Based on the acclaimed 1944 novel of the same name by Martin Wickremasinghe, Gamperaliya is one of the first independent films made in Sri Lanka. Unlike most Sinhala films made at that time which were shot mostly in the studio, Gamperaliya was filmed completely outdoors with minimal equipment, hence, instrumental in revolutionising Sri Lankan cinema.

The film chronicles the changing fortunes of an aristocrat family in colonial Ceylon, and the relationship between Nanda, the second daughter of the family, and Piyal, her English tutor. When Piyal proposes marriage, he is rejected by Nanda’s family because of his lower class status. To forget her, Piyal moves to Columbo to find work, while Nanda’s family arranges for her to marry a man from the same social standing. 

Through the prism of domestic and personal relationships, the film reflects the inevitability of change affecting the traditional way of life in Ceylon as the country modernises. Whether it be the joy of a marriage or the tragedy of someone passing, the film observes the lives of the characters with a poetic serenity.

A film of contemplation and silence, the emotions between the characters, especially between Nanda and Piyal, are expressed through the simplest of gestures. A quick glance, a lowering of the eyes and fingers caressing a necklace speak volumes of how they feel for each other. And like life itself, there are occasional moments of sublime beauty in Gamperaliya that reveal themselves when one observes closely.

Widely regarded as a milestone in Sri Lankan cinema, Gamperaliya was restored and screened as part of the Cannes film festival in the Cannes Classics section in 2008.